Prince George’s County & Baltimore County, Maryland
- Students in Prince George’s County continued virtual learning this week and will do so, at least until January 14. The only exception involves special education students in nonpublic programs who receive transportation services. In Baltimore County, students resumed in-person learning on Jan. 3 as officials attempted to make KN95 masks available. Meanwhile, athletic activities had been postponed until Jan. 10 to allow unvaccinated athletes time to receive weekly COVID-19 testing.
New York City
- On Monday, Jan. 3, the nation’s largest school district resumed in-person learning with safety measures in place, including the doubling of weekly testing of vaccinated and unvaccinated students. In the event a student tests positive for COVID-19, schools won’t pivot entire classes to virtual learning. Instead, their peers will receive two take-home rapid antigen tests within a week of their exposure.
- Amid a surge in COVID cases, Atlanta Public Schools started the week with virtual learning. This announcement followed that made by officials in neighboring Clayton, DeKalb, Fulton and Rockdale counties in Georgia.
- Chicago Public Schools conducted in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 3 without a system-wide test-to-return policy. Only students required to test included the unvaccinated who traveled to “orange-status” states over the break or maintained close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Vaccinated students who’ve been in close contact can attend school if they’re not showing any symptoms. Officials encouraged students who traveled to “orange states” over the break to quarantine for a week, regardless of whether they’ve been vaccinated. Vaccination status notwithstanding, students are required to test if they’re showing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Public schools in Philadelphia resumed in-person learning on Tuesday, Jan 4 with COVID-19 mitigation strategies in place, including mandatory masking for students and staff, vaccine mandates for staff and student athletes, weekly COVID-19 testing for staff, frequent handwashing and installment of classroom air purifiers. As an extra layer of protection, students and staff could be sent home for the day if they don’t comply with the city’s mask and PPE protocols.
- Students enrolled in Miami-Dade County Public Schools returned to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 3 with COVID-19 protocols in place, including mandatory masking for employees, volunteers, visitors, vendors and contractors inside any school building. Students, however, were not mandated to wear masks, only encouraged.
- Detroit’s public school officials canceled in-person and virtual learning between Jan. 3 and Jan. 5 to conduct testing and develop a COVID-related plan. They said the staff infection rate would dictate the course of action taken. Effective Feb. 18, staff members will be required to get vaccinated. Students have also been encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 by the end of January or get enrolled into the district’s virtual academy.
- More than half of the school districts in Los Angeles County conducted in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 3. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that returning students would receive one or two rapid antigen tests. The Los Angeles Unified School District will continue weekly testing, at least throughout January. With the indoor mask mandate in place, parents and officials continue to advocate for the distribution of KN95 masks.
- Public school students in Memphis, and throughout Shelby County, Tennessee, returned to in-person learning on Monday, Jan. 3 with an indoor mask mandate and other COVID-19 protocols in place. Individual schools can petition for transition to virtual learning. Shelby County School District will also conduct weekly COVID-19 testing.
- Over the weekend, officials in Charlotte aligned COVID-19 testing, isolation and quarantine guidelines with recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. When in-person learning resumed on Monday, Jan. 3, students who felt sick were encouraged to stay home while vaccinated students, per state guidelines, didn’t have to quarantine. The recently updated tool kit used by schools emphasized vaccination, masking, testing and social distancing.
- Toward the end of 2021, New Orleans’ public school system became the first in the country to implement COVID-19 vaccination mandates for students five years and older. This week, students resumed in-person learning and administrators allowed individual schools to opt for virtual learning if needed. Schools also received additional resources, guidance and support.
East St. Louis
- Superintendent Arther R. Culver announced that schools in East St. Louis would conduct remote learning between Jan. 4 and Jan. 18, depending on COVID-19’s impact. In his Facebook post, Culver included information about instruction schedules, tech support, meal distribution, virtual parent-teacher conferences and athletics. He also encouraged vaccination, especially among the few who would still be involved in in-person activities.
Compiled by Sam P.K. Collins